Monthly Archives: March 2014

“Last Mile Blues” b/w “I Can’t Quit That Man” by Ida Cox and her All-Star Orchestra. Okeh 6405. Recorded in New York City, 12/20/40.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

 

Ida Cox didn’t run away and join the circus as a teenager. Instead, the small-town Georgia girl ran away and joined a traveling minstrel tent show at the age of fourteen. Experience in that field lead to the better-paying vaudeville circuit as a singer and comedienne. She had her Paramount Records debut in 1923, with fellow female musician Lovie Austin accompanying her on piano. This is her very first record, “Graveyard Dream Blues.”

 

Ida was especially good at bringing songs about death to life. 1925’s “Coffin Blues” is an excellent example. This song features future husband Jesse Crump on harmonium, adding an especially funereal element to the sound.

 

 

Ida was able to parlay her touring experience into managing her own road show, which was pretty unusual for a woman at that time. And she either wrote or co-wrote most of the songs she recorded, including this number that, had she lived long enough, would have earned her a fortune in bumper sticker royalties. This is “Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues.”

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“She Loves You” b/w “I’ll Get You” by The Beatles. Swan S-4152. Recorded July 1, 1963 in London, UK.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

In the summer of 1963, The Beatles were huge in Britain. But this was not the case in America. Two earlier singles that had done well in their home country—”Please Please Me” and “From Me to You”—flopped when released in the States on the Vee-Jay label. Del Shannon’s cover of the latter song far outsold the original.

So was the release of “She Loves You” a guarantee of American success? Capitol, who was offered the chance to release it, didn’t think so. Even little Vee-Jay passed, having not gotten much back on their earlier investment. Fortunately, The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, found a Philadelphia label called Swan (home of Freddy Cannon, Link Wray and His Ray Men, and The Rockin’ Rebels) that was willing to take a chance on the group.

It’s said that “She Loves You” was the song that created Beatlemania, the song that took the band from being extremely popular to being the cause of girls screaming so loudly that the music couldn’t be heard. And only half of the audience would be screaming at their shows—the other half would have fainted. So was it huge here? Not at first. The single was released on September 16, 1963 and received a positive review in Billboard. But it failed to chart, and only sold about 1,000 copies. But by January of 1964, an appearance on The Jack Paar Show coincided with the release of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and America was finally paying attention. The Ed Sullivan Show appearance a month later sealed the deal, and Beatlemania was then firmly in place in America.

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